Traffic-camera contract extended

By TODD ERZEN October 30, 2008

The City of Clive has altered its contract with the company that monitors red-light cameras at six Hickman Road intersections.

What was a five-year contract with Arizona-based Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. has been extended by 18 months in order to compensate for the amount of time Clive's red-light cameras were shut down during court challenges. The company has canceled a $50,000 debt incurred by the city following technology glitches.

The cameras originally began tallying $75 civil citations in summer 2006. They were turned off after a January 2007 court decision tied to the legality of similar cameras in Davenport and turned on again Oct. 1 after the Iowa Supreme Court overturned that decision in August.

The city will also begin paying for Redflex's services according to a tiered plan instead of a monthly fee schedule.

The debt was incurred after Clive's red-light cameras failed to make enough money in their early months of operation to pay Redflex's $4,870 per-month fee for each intersection approach. The shortages each month were rolled into a growing monthly balance for every subsequent month but technology glitches in the camera setups ultimately were deemed responsible for lower citation numbers than had previously been predicted.
Those problems were fixed just weeks before Clive temporarily turned off its cameras and increases in the number of citations were immediately seen. City Manager Dennis Henderson said Redflex was proactive about wanting to make the financial situation right with its client.

"They've been very professional," Henderson said. "I'm very pleased with them."

Moving forward, the city will deal with all citations issued as of Oct. 1 according to a graduated fee schedule that calls for $48 to go to Redflex for the first 90 citations, $38 for the next 90 citations and $28 for every citation thereafter.
Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 16, Clive's cameras recorded 312 violations in their first weeks of operation.

Henderson said such a tiered fee structure should generate more money for the city.

Any positive returns will be used to handle legal challenges to specific red-light citations and to pay for review costs associated with determining whether a citation is issued based on a camera's visual record.

The city's ordinance pertaining to the red-light cameras has also been tweaked by the City Council so the term "owner" includes violators who lease their cars and not the company that leases the car to them.